The IVRC was privileged to be invited by Boy Scout Troop 198 to help celebrate Troop 1's 100 year anniversary in Idaho. The Boy Scouts of America is an organization that provides life education and guidance to many of our nations boys. We had the opportunity to set up a booth at Julius M. Kliner Memorial Park this last Saturday and show off some great VR experiences to the participating scouts. We ended up learning a few things about our favorite technology during the process. We initially planned to run Fantastic Contraption off an Oculus Rift and have the scouts create digital pinewood derby cars that could drive successfully if built correctly. By the end of the day we had brought 2 Oculus Rift's, 1 HTC Vive, 1 Asus VR capable laptop and 1 desktop PC. There were a few things that tripped us up for this event. First, this was an outdoor event and the bright sunlight caused significant tracking issues with our sensors, regardless of platform. Second, the temperature eventually rose to over 100 degrees, not good for computers. I spent probably the first two hours of the event trying to get an experience up and running properly.
This is where the story takes a turn for the better. Under the leadership of Troop Leader Trent Gray, several scouts took the initiative to take camping tarps and tent components to shield our IVRC booth from the bright sunlight and cool down our overworked computers. Demonstrating the Can-Do attitude and Be Prepared motto of Boy Scouts, we were able to get a small space of sensor tracking viable and begin showcasing VR experiences to the other scouts at the event. Introducing people to virtual reality for the first time is the funnest and most rewarding part of our work at the Idaho Virtual Reality Council and the great scouts helping at this event helped us overcome the difficulties of the moment and be successful in our mission that day. This is a great testament to the ingenuity and work ethic that the BSA instills in its members and we hope that some of these great kids help push virtual reality technology forward in the future. Hard work and perseverance pays off and towards the end of the day we even got the chance to relax a bit and have a bit of VR fun with the Black Hawk helicopter that flew in courtesy of the US Army.